Category Archives: Uncategorized

Percy Colin-Thomé and the Composition of the Book People Inbetween

Michael Roberts

Percy Colin-Thomé was born in Galle and his initial learning roots were at Richmond College. His genealogical roots derived from the Swiss personnel of the de Meuron Regiment in the service of the VOC in the 1790s who stayed on in Sri Lanka in British times when the colonial lands on the coast of Ceilao were taken over by the expanding imperial power known as Britain. These lineages became one strand in the mixed/race “Burgher” ethnic group in the island once the whole arena had been unified as colony by Britain between 1815 and 1818. Largely urban in background and increasingly English-speaking at home, these Burgher people became an influential segment of the local “middle-class” fulfilling intermediary roles in the British colonial service.[1]

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An Exploration: Discerning How a Sinhalayā in Kandyan Times BECAME Sinhala

Michael Roberts, reproducing here an old draft that is entitled “Becoming Sinhala” ***

Preamble

The scene is somewhere early in 1984 and the location is the building housing the Social Scientists’ Association on the road to Nawala off Narahenpitiya in Colombo. The late Charlie Abeysekera and the late Newton Gunasinghe are reflecting gloomily on the pogrom of July 1983 that had victimised Tamils living in the capital and elsewhere in the south. Charlie is one of the founder members of MERGE and both are among the few personnel in Colombo who had taken an active stand in public forums against the atrocities that had occurred.* Now, in the gathering dusk, Charlie looks at Newton and asks: “what makes you think that you are a Sinhalese?” Newton immediately grasps the serious import and analytical purpose behind this question. He considers the issue gravely before venturing upon an answer.

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SkandaKumar’s Momentous Transition: Canberra to Haputale

An Email Note from S. Skandakumar, 25 April 2021

A nostalgic reflection as Life ‘s seasons change! From inspecting a Guard of Honour when presenting credentials  in Canberra ,  to the tranquility of Haputale as my four companions prepare for their usual Bath ! …. All delightfully stray.

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Sri Lanka Squad in South Africa decimated by Injuries

Anderw Fidel Fernando in ESPNCricinfo, 1 January 2021 –where the title reads “Sri Lanka limp towards second Test with squad decimated by injuries”

Suranga LakmalKasun RajithaLahiru Kumara and Dinesh Chandimal are all almost certain to miss Sri Lanka’s second Test against South Africa, due to injury. Dhananjaya de Silva had already been confirmed to be out of contention.

 Dinesh Chandimal receiving treatment mid pitch

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Portuguese Names in Sri Lanka and Their Meanings

Roel Raymond, in RoarMedia, 26 February 2018, with this title “Portuguese-Sri Lankan Surnames And Their Meanings” ….. https://roar.media/english/life/history/portuguese-sri-lankan-surnames-and-their-meanings

Roel

The Portuguese arrived in Ceylon, or Ceilão, as they called it, by chance. In 1505, a fleet commanded by Lourenço de Almeida—the son of Francisco de Almeida, the first viceroy of Portuguese India—was blown into Galle by adverse winds. It was thirteen years later, in 1518, that the Portuguese established formal contact with the Kingdom of Kotte, ruled by Vira Parakrama Bahu, and were permitted to build a fort in Colombo.

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Jeronis Pieris and His Times

A de luxe edition of FACETS OF CEYLON HISTORY THROUGH THE LETTERS OF JERONIS PIERIS, by Michael Roberts, has been printed by Bay Owl Press in 2020 to replace the 1976 edn and is available for Rs 6500/ at Turf Equipment Ltd,  17A,  Swarna Road, Colombo 6 as well as Barefoot,  Cargills Book City,  Sarasavi,  Vijitha Yapa,  Gallery Café bookshop, JamFruitTree, Kalaya,  Pendi & Urban Island…. while foreign purchases could be secured via http://www.pererahussein.com.

The main text is the same as in 1976; but the index has been extended and numerous photographs of historical value have been added.

A vintage photo-album kept by Louis Pieris illustrates the social milieu associated with the
Hānnādigē
Pieris and Warusahānnādigē De Soysa families


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Sir John Kotelawela in Australia and New Zealand in 1955

Earlson Forbes,** Courtesy of The Ceylankan, XXIII: 3, August 2020, where the title differs a mite

Ceylon’s third Prime Minister, Sir John Kotelawela, was known as an outspoken, strong  and, as some would say, a flamboyant leader.  He had a chance of being the second Prime Minister of Ceylon when the first Prime Minister of Independent Ceylon, D. S.  Senanayake, passed away in 1952.  Sir John was a strong contender for the vacant position.  However, he was overlooked for appointment and the son of D. S. Senanayake , Dudley Senanayake,  was appointed to the position.  As fate would have it, Sir John did not have to wait long for his second shot at the Prime Ministership.  Dudley Senanayake’s period as Prime Minister was riddled with civil unrest.  In 1953, he resigned and this time around Sir John was chosen as the third Prime Minister of Ceylon. 

Sir John (1895-1980)
John Kotelawela Snr 1865-1908

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Beware Anti-Chinese Covid Propaganda Videos

NOTE from Michael Roberts, 20 October 2020:

About a week back a Sri Lankan circuit of avid emailers presented an You Tube Video re China and the Covid virus. SEE ….

While I circulated it, I had immediate reservations –albeit without expertise on China. For ONE. The tentative speculative style of the charges levelled at China raised my suspicions: I read that as a technique meant to cajole readers into accepting the allegations. For ANOTHER, I had enough knowledge on China to laugh at the claim that Shanghai and Beijing were/are close to Wuhan – I have visited both cities as a tourist.

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Revisiting the Jataka Tales

 Jolly Somasundaram, reviewing “Jataka Stories Retold” (in English) By P G Punchihewa and Mallika Karunaratne ………… ISBN No:  978-955-54441-1-8:  186 pages:  Price Rs 360.

Hinduism and Buddhism, the world’s oldest practised religions, have similar salvation mechanisms.  Their believers could achieve Moksha or Nirvana through numerous re-births- -there are no 19A term limits for them. Their re-birth workout is spread over aeons of time. In these re-births, self-correction takes place, eventually making them suitable to achieve the ultimate.

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Vale: Joe Hoad, Barbadian Virtuoso

Vale: Joe Hoad, Barbadian Virtuoso

Michael Roberts

Joe Hoad was multi-skilled … in the manner unique. A Bajan man from the elite White ruling elements in Barbados he had no colour prejudice whatsoever and moved with ease among Aboriginal Australians as well as Sri Lankans …. as seen so famously in his affinity with Pissu Percy when they met in Galle in 2015 during the Windies Test match in October 2015.

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